The goal of this meeting is to consider potential future directions for the NIGMS funded structural genomics efforts. The charge is not to determine whether or not to continue the Protein Structure Initiative (PSI). This decision will be made by the NIGMS staff with advice from the National Advisory General Medical Sciences Council (NAGMS Council) at a later date. Rather, the goal of this meeting is to develop and evaluate various potential alternatives for coordinated efforts taking advantage of the capabilities for high-throughput protein structure determination developed over the course of the PSI. It will include input from the broad scientific community as well as from those who have participated in the planning, execution, and analysis of the PSI to date. The objective is to suggest strategies that would enhance the value of the structural genomics and/or high throughput structural biology results to a broad scientific audience and ways to take best advantage of the resources that have been developed by the PSI. Discussion of the role of structural genomics and/or high throughput structural biology as distinct from other aspects of structural biology and the impact of structural genomics on other areas of science is within the scope of discussion for this meeting. Consideration of other areas of structural biology that may benefit from coordinated research effort is also relevant. The balance between the NIGMS investment in larger scale coordinated research as opposed to smaller scale investigator-initiated research should not be a focus of this meeting. This is a topic frequently discussed in a broader context by NIGMS staff and the NAGMS Council.
Key issues to be addressed include: i) prioritization in structural target selection, particularly the relative merits of structural coverage of protein families that have no or little structural coverage versus addressing targets of high biological interest; ii) integration of functional studies with structural studies; iii) the uses and limitations of homology models in driving biomedical research; iv) exploitation of intellectual and material products of the current structural genomics pipelines; v) involvement of the broad biomedical research community in all aspects of structural genomics efforts; vi) continued technology development for all aspects of protein structure determination and molecular modeling; vii) appropriately scaled structural genomics components and mechanisms of support under multiple budgetary assumptions.